November 21, 2013
In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Myla Goldberg, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.
Cassandra Troyan's Throne of Blood is one of the year's most inventive and best poetry collections.
The Collagist wrote of the book:
"Cassandra Troyan's Throne of Blood deterritorializes genre in the most beautifully messy manner imaginable. It simultaneously behaves like fiction, nonfiction, poetry, sci-fi, splatter punk, gorecore, sixth wave, blinker freak, and unapologetic porn. It mutates, squirms, quivers, convulses, never settles down, never behaves, and never offers respite for the reader."
Writing and listening are very intertwined for me. As I go through the day with loud music playing, I need the right sounds to get me jolted. Sometimes the perfect affective pacing of a song will help trigger a line that hadn't been sticking right before, or release a stuck place so that I am instantly flying ahead from where I was only minutes before. I'm also a filmmaker, so often the aural soundtracking of my writing process is an effective tool that helps in setting mood and resituating myself as a conductor of images as much as text. I often play lyrically, including titles, and chorus as sideline chants. This play list is a mix of music listened to during my writing of Throne of Blood, inspired by, and after the fact atmospheric choices. Relevant poem quotes are also added where necessary.
Edith Piaf: La Vie En Rose
This song is actually present in the text of the book, during the PREAMBLE, on the edge of an escape, and moves into the first INTERLUDE. This moment seems extremely Lynchian in a way I'm not ashamed of, as a scene of brutal violence gets co-mingled with soft intimacy towards the end. Stilling to quiet defeat, but only to kick up again.
"While brain bone was clipping off
I noticed faint music coming from upstairs
something small and slow and misplaced.
I hummed along softly to its familiar sway:
J'irais jusqu'au bout du monde
Je me ferais teindre en blonde
Si tu me le demandais
I slammed his head into the concrete floor
J'irais décrocher la lune
J'irais voler des fortunes
Si tu me le demandais
Nous aurons pour nous l'éternité
Dans le bleu de toute l'immensité
Dans le ciel plus de problème
Dieu réunit ceux qui s'aiment"
In Heaven Everything Is Fine
This scene has become emblematic for me in terms of the grotesque, and the secret lure of desirous feelings. I feel so much love for this woman, as her somewhat gentle fetus stomping is full of such joy. A lullaby for the deranged.
Gabriel Fauré: Élégie pour violoncelle et piano
As the two women begin the journey, newly struggled and saved. There is levity in the quest, a weighted responsibility yet a joyful lucidity emerging with that acceptance. There is elegance to this song, as it is discrete in its familiarity. You almost know the song, or if you do, it's never by name.
A$AP Rocky: Brand New Guy (feat. ScHoolboy Q)
"I am naked in my bedroom because I want to feel like yeah raw ya know vegan smoking cigarettes klonopin always klonopin ketamine master cleansing and gluten-free spliffs inside of the marineness of your pussy I'll fiscourse your digure and buy you a ring pop and cover you in eucalyptus as we let the mist rise, your pumping legs the bellow that I hope plumes at the base of my ass forever."
White Ring: We Rot
ALWAYS CREEPS R STALKING
IN WINDOWS THEYLL B WATCHING
WHETHER WE ARE ROTTING
THE OCEAN STILL LAYS
THE GODS STILL PLAY
Witch house or not, with vocals of a slow squeaking halt, a ghost muppet lit on fire this was essential. Definitely on repeat. (INTERLUDE I)
YOU DON'T EVER GET TO COME BACK
"I place my palm gently place over a pile of numb coins. Don't need to count just feel their collected weight. I feel them dimly wrinkle away. Not like falling just gentle fainting. Soft heft on a summer day and pleat into the sheets this graceful failure. For once the weight of failure feels like a release because it is my own. I stake my claim. Pressing a hand stained with sweated juice of berries to pull it towards while letting the coins drop to my lap yet I do no alter the gaze. Keep it straight and angled forward. I collect everything without pause. Slowly get up and walk away and never return never look back.
Never drop your gaze."
THERE ARE WARNINGS IN THE EYE OF TOUCH
"I'm the hermaphrodite of your wet dreams the kamikaze
banshee you've been waiting around the crepuscule for until
you can perceive my sheen."
"i'm going to cut off part of my tongue and feed it to you.
it is a meat that explores.
its blood is one like knowledge.
i can feel all its threads, its traction of sores."
Bird Peterson: Drankenstein (Vol. 1)
This hour long track serves as a kind of violent landscape running through the work. There was one point where I was in the gigantic, cavernous library at Uchicago, and my headphones accidentally unplugged and of chorus of chanted obscenities reverberated throughout the entire hall. I would have been embarrassed if it didn't seem that people enjoyed it so much.
Chelsea Wolfe: Halfsleeper
All the parts of me, that lived inside. I drowned them in the sea of naked light.
I TURN ANOTHER PAGE AND MY BRAIN FALLS OUT
"Fuck poems with birds, I'm the one who gets to fly
I'm the one who gets to bleed but before the run let's have
sex without pleasure
saliva without spit
desire without danger
without disease without
a body without a sex
Belong: I Never Lose. Never Really
I am always searching to be swallowed. Big gulfs, hard walls that kick you down/push you up. I remembering lying face down on my bedroom floor, overly medicated and not quite cold, or tired but the wooden floor made me lucid to the point where I could look in a mirror and laugh.
Tim Hecker: Stab Variation
Technically this song came out after I wrote THRONE OF BLOOD, but Tim Hecker is made of some primordial goo, so he is already the noise he creates meaning you have always heard it. This album of live sessions later edited and modified, feels how I control the flows of my process too. I write very late at night when I'm at the point of exhaustion and the magic hours of freedom open up.
Cryptopsy: Crown of Horns
CROWN OF HORNS
"Someone fuck me to sleep. Someone fill my desperate panting.
Someone is being choked in the alley and I am taking a shit.
Sex is something that just happens we don't really have to try."
Burzum: Rundtgåing Av Den Transcendentale Egenhetens Støtte [Filosofem]
RISE FROM YR RUGGED ASHES
"I have been a woman for too long
in that fall there is levity
and the skullfucked panorama of
no lattes, no movies
but I'm getting cake
I'm getting high
pulsing into nasty gas
as a neuron that emits
an action potential
is often said to "fire.""
Hair Police: Interruption and Invasion
SWOLLEN IN THE FACE OF LOGIC
"All I can feel is presentness and I know it will destroy me."
Merzbow: Worms Plastic Earthbound
I remember listening to the entirety of Pulse Demon again and again on huge headphones until there was no longer any sound and my heart might have stopped at some point, or was beating into a still flutter.
Fe-Mail: Oh, You Gritty Thing
Harry Pussy: Smash the Mirror
Whitehouse: Ripper Territory
Hototogisu/Burning Star Core: Four
Minor Threat: Straight Edge
FEAR SNUBBED IT OUT
"shots of 151 until you come to right as
walking up the stairs drinking a handle of Jack
and eating an orange creamsicle oh this is not
what was happening before always moving.
the strangled pain of transit
as no thoughts happen in stillness.
somersault through the front door
then ring the bell at 4 am and why not drink
a liter of vodka and take 12 vicodin
death is a great way to peacefully
Frank Sinatra: Stormy Weather
Whenever I listen to Frank Sinatra, I always think of murdering someone, but in beautiful tender ways. There is a latent sweetness in the sad desperation, and his voice sounds especially wavering in this song. I imagine a slow dance with some male bait who gets his throat slit unexpectedly during the serenade. He doesn't even really mind as he sinks slowly to the floor. (INTERLUDE II)
"Measured distance, I place the parts:
light tease caught
chuckling in room.
lit ember at hand
I enjoy the careful glint of her eye.
He warns, impatient:
No need for crescendos.
"I came for meat,
not a hunt bitch."
"Take it then, brute."
The Misfits: Last Caress
I FEEL THE TREADMILL LURCH
i'm on so much klonopin. always on klonopin i can barely see or breathe i drank a lot of cough syrup too who am i, i'm running really fuckin fast at the gym i never slow it down. on fox news a man holds up an abstract expressionist painting of rick santorium's portrait.
i'm waiting for an email that will never come.
Arvo Pärt: Tabula Rasa
I pull myself into holes where I can listen to Pärt for hours inside of my apartment until the light and dark has changed around and I forget why I can't move.
THE CUT AS THE FEELING OF WHAT IT IS TO ALREADY RESIDE IN A PLACE UNFIT FOR YOUR DEPARTURE
"A denial of succinct results leads to the least expected resolution.
We can be honest about ferocity
but the feeling's not apparent.
Yet even a series of actions can become a script.
There is no such thing as spontaneity.
Everything begins with deceit. You enter the sound
and then the sound enters you. Where is the cry?
The cut made is never a departure.
It is a return back into materiality
towards being in proximity
to the object without having it."
The Platters: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
"There will always linger a quiver as we repeat the affair again, and again. Rise up on our throne of blood call it CORPSE MOUNTAIN built from what intangibles uncertain.
Survival defeats boredom as the curious eye seeks lifeblood the desire to see ourselves in a distant floating apparition."
Cassandra Troyan and Throne of Blood links:
also at Largehearted Boy:
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